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Bridging the gap between theory and practice, Cayla Morency takes Museum Management and Curatorship


Cayla Morency/ Photo Credit: Tina Kyriakakis
Cayla Morency/ Photo Credit: Tina Kyriakakis

Cayla Morency wanted to bridge the gap between the research and writing skills she developed in university with the practical world of museums and heritage organizations. That is why she decided to enrol in Fleming College’s Museum Management and Curatorship graduate certificate.

“Put simply, I had heard that Fleming’s Museum Management and Curatorship program was the best,” said Cayla, who has a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Ottawa and Master of Arts in History from the University of Windsor.

She was intrigued by the program’s partnership with the Peterborough Museum & Archives and, after seven years of post-secondary education, the condensed nature of the program was attractive. “It turned out to be the best way to spend a year!” said Cayla, who is graduating from Fleming College this summer.

Cayla describes her Fleming College experience as fantastic and that Museum Management and Curatorship instructors – who have real industry experience – are excellent. Through group projects, including a temporary exhibit installed at the Peterborough Museum & Archives, Cayla developed teamwork skills and gained the hands-on experience she needed.

“The final exhibition, applied projects at local heritage institutions, and the curriculum-based internship provided the opportunity to put into practice the skills we had learned throughout the program,” said Cayla. “I owe a great deal to my instructors at Fleming and to my internship supervisor, Jennifer Nicoll at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University, for the knowledge and skills I learned that helped me gain employment at the National Gallery of Canada.”

Before officially graduating from Fleming College, Cayla is already employed. She is now the Exhibitions Officer and Collections Management Assistant at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

“I have had the unique opportunity to see the gallery preparing for the unveiling of the Canadian and Indigenous Galleries later this year,” said Cayla. “I was fortunate enough to see many iconic works from Canadian and Indigenous artists up close, as they were in storage in the months leading up to the new exhibition.”

Cayla’s tasks at the National Gallery of Canada focus on using the gallery’s database, MIMSY XG, to assist with tracking the location and exhibition of works in the gallery’s permanent collection, and those loaned for exhibitions; assisting Exhibition Managers with drafting letters and loan agreements to lending institutions, entering data related to loaned works of art, and more.

“The skills, applied projects, and internship experience in gallery and museum administration, artefact handling, database usage, and collections management were instrumental in the competition for the internship and current position I hold at the National Gallery of Canada,” said Cayla. “The Museum Management and Curatorship program provides emerging museum professionals the chance to develop skills in an intensive one-year program with constant opportunities to put theory into practice.”

Her advice to current Museum Management and Curatorship students is to volunteer and seek professional development opportunities. “The National Gallery of Canada offers paid 12-week internships in educational programming for art museums and collections management, sometimes several per year,” said Cayla. “These are great opportunities to build skills and gain experience in a museum setting.”